Eating a diet that's high in fibre and whole grain foods not only protects against colon cancer, it also lowers that risk of developing cancer in the small intestine, suggests new research from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.
The small intestine makes up 75 percent of the digestive tract, yet rarely do cancers develop there, more often showing up in the colon, explains the study author.
In this study, 293,703 men and 198,618 women had their diets analyzed to determine the effects of dietary fibre and whole grain foods on the occurrence of small bowel cancer.
After seven years, cancer of the small intestine was diagnosed in 165 study participants.
Adults with the highest intake of fibre from whole grains had a 49 percent reduction in the risk of developing small bowel cancer when compared to those with the lowest fibre and whole grain intake.
The highest fibre intake averaged 28 grams per day while the lowest fibre intake averaged only 12 grams per day. (The current recommendations call for adults to consume 25 to 38 grams of fibre per day.)
Whole grain foods that are high in fibre include 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat spaghetti, oatmeal, Kellogg's All Bran Buds with Psyllium, and flaxseed.
To boost your fibre intake, try sprinkling one-third of a cup (75 ml) of All Bran Buds on your breakfast cereal for an extra 13 grams of fibre.
This study was published in the October 2008 issue of the journal Gastroenterology.
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